Friday, April 5, 2013


I came home from work today to carnage at The Garden Spot. Oh, I knew what I would face, but I really didn't have a very good mental image of the damage that two men and chainsaw could do.

We have had a love/hate relationship with the two biggest deciduous trees on the acreage from the day we moved in. The Russian Olive at the back of the house shaded the patio. We liked that. It provided a nice landing spot for the birds that fly through the yard and stop at the feeders. I hung my suet cakes in its branches in winter for woodpeckers. A nuthatch discovered the suet cakes this winter. I could get great photos of the birds through my patio door. I liked that.

Yet the tree was a terrible annoyance. Russian Olives were first planted along ditch banks as a part of the WPA to put people to work. Now considered a noxious weed, the state wild life division hires legions of teens during the summer to cut down the olive trees along creek beds and river banks. They are water hogs, propagate prolifically, and make a mess. In the spring I fight the blossoms as they drop on the patio, requiring a leaf blower to clean the patio. In the fall, they drop long narrow, skinny leaves that pile up in the flower beds. So Good bye, old tree.

 Old and brittle, the branches have been damaged by wind and heavy snow, so it really isn't a very pretty tree anymore. We have surmised that the the tree seeded itself and was just allowed to grow, moving the patio bricks out of place.

I've always wanted a weeping willow. Unfortunately the willow here was unhealthy when we moved in and it only grew sicker and sicker, literally weeping sap. Our tree service suggested that it be taken out. So hubby got estimates to remove both trees-- about $700. a tree. Today our son-in-law come over today to help cut down the trees. Next we will call the tree service to see how much it will cost to have the lilacs that he took out last week and the trees chipped into mulch. Could be too expensive. At any rate, we have a mess.

Once cleaned up, though, the yard will be more open and cleaner with the sick and damaged trees gone. We will replace the Russian olive with two golden locusts at the back of the patio. Fruit trees will replace the weeping willow. It really is sad to have to cut down mature trees, but trees do grow old and outlive their usefulness. They will be replaced with healthy, new trees that while it will take years for them to mature, we will enjoy watching them grow and I'll love shopping for them in the coming weeks.

I haven't been reading my blogs lately and as I glanced through them before starting my post tonight, I guess some of you haven't been blogging much either. We have been all been busy. We had Easter dinner here with a scavenger hunt and Easter egg hunt for the kids. New kites were prizes, but no wind. We always have a breeze here. Always. But not when we want to fly kites!

Has your garden warmed up yet? It has been rather chilly here. Little moisture, windy, cool, so I haven't been out in the yard much. But I have been poking around in the mulch and leaves and soil to see what survived the winter. The tulips and daffodils are just moments away from blooming, the iris (you can't kill iris not matter what) are all greening up, even the peonies are waking up. I'll feed them this week-end. They will get a nice dose of rabbit pellets. Yes, rabbit pellets made of alfalfa. The lady who has the iris patch and raises peonies too said to give them rabbit food. Hopefully the cottontails ( who have been nibbling on the tulips) won't discover the pellets. I poked around the delfinium but it looks dead. I can't seem to keep them for more than a  couple of years or else it is too early. Nor have the hydrangea awakened. I am really nervous to see if they make it through the winter. What about your garden? What's emerging from its winter sleep in your yard?

We have 4 weeks of school left. WOW. Can you image how fast it has gone? It is at this time of the semester that I am just beginning to get to know my students and feel that we are now working toward the same goals. Their rough drafts for their research papers are due the 16th. Final drafts come in the 25th. I will have 50 ten page papers 15 five-seven page papers. I will be buried with work as we work toward the end of the semester.

Tomorrow we head to Denver for little Nathan's 4th birthday. I cannot believe that he is already 4. He loves The Garden Spot and got ride grandpa's tractor. What a thrill for him.

Hopefully it will warm up this week and perhaps by my next post I'll have some daffodils to share with you. I want to get some things planted Sunday, but I think we have a really big job finishing this latest project. I also want to get the little water garden in the front started. And prune the roses. And clean flower beds. And shop for trees. And, yeah, grade some quizzes.  And Blog all about it.

You, too. Just Blog it.
Have a really good week.


  1. Hi Ann!
    We had to take a few trees down here a few years ago. They were sick beyond healing, but I think some of the neighbors thought it was a shame anyway.
    I did not know that peonies like rabbit pellets! We have SO many cottontails. Is it okay to give THEM rabbit pellets so they don't feast on our plants?
    The day lilies that I might take out are showing some sprouts. My neighbor says, "Take them out anyway!" We'll see.
    We get our raised bed fixed this week and lots of good garden dirt brought in. I'm excited about the garden!
    Four weeks? I have eight. I'll think of you as you score all those research papers. Yikes!
    Your family of kiddies is so cute! I've spent a good bit of my spring break with grandkids. Yay!

  2. It's always sad to have to take down established trees, but sometimes it is a safety measure. We lost a big eucalyptus in the gales in France last year, and that was sad also.

  3. Hello Ann, I know how you feel about needing to cut out trees now and then. We had one of our big pines pruned drastically early this year and I am now a bit sorry because I have lost so much shade, but it was hanging so far to our neighbors that it was bending their palm trees. I didn't have the heart to cut it down completely since it is home to the hummingbird nests.

    I think with your situation though it was good to cut that olive out. I see what you mean about it moving the patio bricks. You have a lovely yard with so much space for trees. I envy you.

  4. I am always in doubt for removing old trees, but you are so right. The one in front of your patio must have been a nuisance. It gives so much pleasure to renew something in the garden and I see you also have lots to do besides your work at the university. Prospects for the weather are at last better, temperature is increasing slowly, but we need rain, like you as I even see on the pictures. I am looking forward to an explosion of green coming week, you too?

  5. I hate to remove old trees, but sometimes it must be done. I do suggest you plant a smaller more ornamental tree near your patio for shade and ambiance. A short story; while walking in our previous yard, I heard the beautiful old Mulberry tree sort of squeak and groan a few times. So I went inside and told my husband that I was moving the car off the driveway and across the road because the Mulberry would be falling that night. He looked at me like I was crazy and I said, "Would you please move the motor home and your truck across the street, too." He replied that I was nuts but he would move the motor home, not his truck. Sure enough the tree fell that night and hit his truck, which wasn't hurt too bad, but we couldn't open our front door of the house! He looked at me with new respect and awe and demanded was I gifted with ESP. I never did tell him that I heard the tree creaking and just guessed it would fall!

  6. Sometimes some things are just necessary no matter how you are attached to them. It is sad to see mature trees go but hopefully the new trees will give you some pleasure. Everything in the garden here seems to be at a standstill but we have had a couple of days of warmer weather which may help get things going. To see fresh green and a bit of colour would be nice.

  7. Ann I know you are going to feel so much better now that those dead trees are out of the way. I hope that once you have the time you will have a beautiful warm day to shop for those new trees. Yay!

    Things are blooming around here so I went to the park and took pictures to share and bring cheer to those who are waiting on the weather to warm up.